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Co-directors begin roles for Georgia Southern University’s new youth research center


This month, Juliann Sergi McBrayer, Ed.D., and Chad Posick, Ph.D., assume their roles as the co-directors of Georgia Southern University’s National Youth Resilience and Advocacy (NYAR) Research Center. Announced last fall, the NYAR Research Center, housed in the College of Education (COE), serves as an interdisciplinary research center to develop evidence-based practices supporting educators, community partners, university professors and other adults impacting youth.

McBrayer and Posick are focused on the development and implementation of the Center’s strategic plan.

Posick is an associate professor of criminal justice and criminology in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of victimization, and the prevention of violence. He teaches courses on family violence, crime and public policy and statistics. Posick is an executive board member and vice president of Child Advocacy Services (CASA) of the Ogeechee Circuit in Georgia and member of the national Scholars Strategy Network that promotes the translation of research to policy.

“This Center provides an opportunity to seek out funding and collaborations to conduct public impact research that will improve the community,” said Posick. “I am looking forward to working with a diverse set of individuals across a variety of academic disciplines to improve the health and well-being of our families, schools and communities.”

“I believe that my experiences have set me up well to help establish and grow the NYAR Research Center, and continuing important work on the health and well-being of youth, and their families, schools and communities through a coordinated, interdisciplinary research center is exactly in line with my passion and career goals,” said Posick.

McBrayer is an associate professor in the COE. She has served more than 20 years in the educational career field in roles including: educational leadership associate and assistant professor, educational program coordinator, instructional school leader, professional development and federal programs coordinator, classroom teacher and teacher leader. As a scholarly practitioner, her research interests include the development, implementation and assessment of educational leadership and teacher preparation programs. These programs focus on purposeful, collaborative and sustainable professional learning and programming to ensure effectiveness and accountability while emphasizing community partnerships.

“From my inception here at Georgia Southern as a scholarly practitioner researcher, my focus has been on securing grant funding to support our rural community and interdisciplinary partnerships, and to promote school climate with a focus on school safety, racial equity, resiliency and advocacy,” said McBrayer. “I am dedicated to positively impacting the academic, social and emotional well-being of youth and will lead with the of Five H’s of ‘Head, Heart, Hands, Health and Home’ approach as my mission as an educator for over 20 years has been that my students are my everything. Educating them in an environment most conducive to learning is not only a goal but the number one reason I do what I do in higher education and in the educational arena.”

About the Center

The NYAR Research Center was created out of the desire to continue and expand on the work of the College of Education’s National Youth Advocacy and Resilience (NYAR) Conference (formerly the National Youth-at-Risk Conference). For more than 30 years, the NYAR Conference has served as an epicenter of information sharing and advancement for the support of youth facing challenges across the nation.

Co-chairs of the NYAR Conference and COE faculty members Alisa Leckie, Ph.D., and Taylor Norman, Ph.D., initiated the proposal for the Center and brought together a group of faculty and administrators from multiple colleges at Georgia Southern to support leading, interdisciplinary research that will have the greatest impact on youth advocacy and resilience.

With interdisciplinary support from the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Waters College of Health Professions, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health and College of Arts and Humanities, the NYAR Research Center will officially begin research and grant-writing projects to develop evidence-based practices to support youth as early as Spring 2022.


Posted in Community Outreach & Partnership, Faculty Highlights

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